Millburn, | 2h 30m | Ends May 05

Benny & Joon

From 13 critic and 31 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great acting, Clever, Quirky, Delightful

About the show

Based on the 1993 film starring Johnny Depp, this new musical is offers a comic and tender-hearted celebration of love: between children and parents; romantic partners; friends; and most of all, siblings. More…

The pair at the heart of the show are Joon, a young woman dealing with mental illness, and Benny, the big brother who’s determined to take care of her. When a charmingly eccentric stranger comes into their lives, he throws their carefully calibrated world off-kilter—maybe for the better.

2h 30m | Ends May 05 | Papermill Playhouse (NJ)

Times Square Chronicles

“Guenther has enhanced the script taking out unneeded material and making other material stand out. Add to that the lush enjoyment of some wonderful songs...I was in musical heaven...There were times I could not tell if I had tears because I was laughing or crying as the show is so emotionally charged. It is tender, sentimental and highly moving...Beautifully directed...Guenther’s book made me laugh, cry and fall deeply in love with this show.” Full Review


"his new musical enjoys outstanding direction by Jack Cummings III, clever choreography by Scott Rink, and top music direction by J. Oconer Navarro with orchestrations by Michael Starobin. The show's marvelous cast brings the honest, touching, and entertaining story to life...The musical numbers are a great fit for the story and the vocal performances couldn't be better." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"This is a lovable, witty, spry musical with an incredible cast...Pinkham gives a deliciously physical, marvelous performance with astounding grace, sincerity and warmth. It’s truly Pinkham’s show...A gifted, mesmerizing performance...The production’s delightful. It completely captures the whimsy and the serious-mindedness of the film. The lyrics are mostly rhyming couplets but it works...Cummings III keeps things moving at a sprightly pace...Highly enjoyable.” Full Review


“This improbable musical is a truly creative and moving adaptation of its original source material. If anything, this entertaining work expands and embellishes the story further in unexpected ways...The main leads are completely believable and the inter relationship dynamics are spot on...The music and lyrics are melodic and amusing...Cummings III doesn’t shy away from the darkness by any means...This film to musical incarnation is infused with a graceful warmth." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Transcends expected limitations and serves as the basis for a highly styled, richly inventive, sad and funny fantasy which employs classic silent movie pantomime to create a magical world of its own...Bryce Pinkham's award-caliber Sam is the heart and soul of this production. He gracefully and gently coaxes all of the humor out of the comic routines which he performs without ever sacrificing the integrity of his characterization." Full Review


"The rare example of a thing not lost, but found, in translation...The stage version follows the film pretty closely. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why it plays better...The songs — somewhat generically Broadway-sounding, but good of their kind — do most of the heavy lifting...What gives ‘Benny & Joon’ its periodic lift is the stuff Pinkham brings to the table...Pinkham is the show's wild card...The book...improves on the original screenplay by fleshing out the story of Joon.” Full Review

Theater Sensation

“The musical version captures all the things I loved in the movie and brought them to life on the stage. This musical will make audiences laugh as well as take them on a nostalgia-filled emotional journey...With an exceptional cast, a stunning set and beautiful music...As much as I loved the show and the nostalgia it brought forth I found some of the musical numbers in act one a bit pointless and almost distracting.” Full Review

Reflections in the Light

“Imaginatively directed...Finally, a musical with wit, warmth and whimsy. Cummings creates an environment where both reality and fantasy feel right at home. Pinkham is in his element...While light and breezy, the story manages to deal with serious issues through characters who are flawed, but very likable...The music by Gasser is pleasant if not memorable...Some vocals seem stretched.” Full Review


"A sweet and innocuous musical...With only the safest explorations of its darker undertow...Sam remains the primary appeal...All you want is another peek at Sam's colorful inner life, dispensed by Pinkham in addictively entertaining spurts...It's when things flip back to traditional musical mode that ‘Benny & Joon’ loses its eccentric luster...Most of those unadorned moments unfortunately fall to Benny and his love interest...A dreary complement to the main event.” Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“’Benny and Joon’ isn't overly concerned with reality -- Most...problems were built into the source material, the 1993 film -- but musicalizing it accentuates them...’Benny and Joon’ has its offhand, off-the-cuff charms, but it is saddled with a too-sunny attitude about mental illness and a principal character who is spun out of pure celluloid. Even fairy tales need a kernel of truth if they are to be believed; this one has a prince who, despite a fine performance, tries too hard to be charmi... Full Review


“’Benny & Joon’ is, essentially, a romantic comedy, so there must be obstacles to be resolved...Book writer Guenther has a delicate balancing act to perform...It’s too much for one mortal writer to pull off. As a result, this ‘Benny & Joon’ ultimately seems too contrived to be fully satisfying...The musical didn’t really a story. Still, it has some good moments, mostly from Pinkham as the truly one-of-a-kind Sam...The songs are pleasantly melodic but a bit bland.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Guenther has given the stage adaptation fuller-developed characters than were in 1993 romantic comedy...Here, in the Paper Mill’s 1,200-seater, even with the further work that’s gone into it, doesn’t exactly leap to the stage...It doesn’t offer intimacy when intimacy is ideal. The musical is filled with whimsical and sentimental moments, including bits of small magic. Some get lost on the mammoth stage." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The result: Boring and Jejune...This musical treatment, directed by Jack Cummings III, misfires on all cylinders. Those unfamiliar with the film will most likely be left scratching their heads wondering why there is so little dramatic tension. An even bigger question that looms: What is the point of all this singing when few of the songs move the story forward?...Somehow, Elless manages to rise about the material...Pinkham’s Sam is also a delight." Full Review

Masterful, Great writing, Great singing, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if You love romance and want to see a sentimental, moving work of theatre.

Don't see it if You do not want to make a trip out to New Jersey.

Also The show needs some work if it is going to move to broadway, but it is... Read more Read less

Funny, Quirky, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You liked the Aidan Quinn, Mary Stuart Masterson, Johnny Depp film - this is a pleasant and enjoyable surprise!

Don't see it if You expect it to be the movie and you don’t like forays into musicals

Quirky, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if You like romantic funny musicals or are a fan of the film. A great take on mental health issues. Also get to visit Milburn and the Papermill

Don't see it if You don't have a romantic heart, or want a huge production.

Enchanting, Quirky, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You are interested in a thoughtful, well told story about people who are struggling real life challenges. A must see for Bryce Pinkham fans

Don't see it if If you have issues with challenging topics like mental illness and loss

Also I had never seen the movie so was not sure what to expect. It was a gr... Read more Read less

Poignant, Resonant, Intelligent, Delightful

See it if you want 2 c a very sweet, moving musical about a brother/sister relationship & the importance of family in caring & protecting each other.

Don't see it if you don't like serious musicals that touch on mental illness told through the eyes of the brother/sister relationship & the sacrifices made.

Great acting, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if This is a delightful production, cleverly staged and well acted.

Don't see it if you don’t have a heart

Standout star turn, Clever, Well-sung, Quirky, Great acting

See it if you like "new-styled" and/or "derivative" American musical theater (the likes of Fun Home, Curious Incident..., Full Monty, Groundhog Day).

Don't see it if you seek traditional musical theater mores, must have B'way "pzzzazzz," need theatre to be transcendent and not just a night out, need more.

Also The one substantive reason to see B & J -- and it is more than enough ... Read more Read less

Great cast, strong book, sweet, funny, weak music

See it if You know and love the movie, like stories that deal in a lighthearted but truthful way about mental illness.

Don't see it if You want a high-energy musical with big production numbers. This is more like a play with music. It's more play than musical.

Also I enjoyed Benny and Joon. The lead, Hannah Elless, is exquisite. A fin... Read more Read less

Relevant, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see a quality show in NJ. It’s different and it’s sweet.

Don't see it if You just want to be entertained by a big musical. There is a story here and that is the focus more that a big, entertaining production.

Also It does drag in parts so would have given higher ratings if it was 20-... Read more Read less

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want something original portrayed on the stage with clever staging, outrageous acting, and great singing.

Don't see it if If you need productions numbers with dancing, and splashing sets.

Also This show was staged spectacularly with simple but clever machinations... Read more Read less

Charming, Quirky, Great acting, Enchanting

See it if Ok, I was prepare to be disappointed. But this show won me over completely. The music and lyrics are uneven and mostly forgettable. But this

Don't see it if cast was spectacular. Bryce Pinkham and Hannah Elless both shine. Bryce in particular gives one of my favorite performances in a while.

Also It's definitely worth the trip.

Disappointing, Refreshing, Entertaining, Clever, Slow

See it if You love the movie. This is a very precise tribute to the film. Also Bryce Pinkham’s performance as Sam is a Must-See!

Don't see it if You don’t like movie adaptations.

Entertaining, Quirky, Great singing, Great acting, Delightful

See it if you enjoyed the movie, you should enjoy the musical. The songs were OK, but the performances are strong. Act 2 was much better than Act 1.

Don't see it if you're expecting great theater. Musical from popular movies rarely work. In this instance, this worked better than Pretty Woman.

Refreshing, Resonant, Entertaining, Enchanting, Ambitious

See it if If you like a nice brother and sister relationship show that is entertaining and warm.

Don't see it if If your not into serious musicals with a serious subject matter.

Absorbing, Interesting, Clever, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if you like non-traditional musicals. B & J offers some great singing interspersed with great performances especially by the actor playing Sam

Don't see it if you don't like a show that deals with mental health issues in a family setting (Next to Normal)

Slow, Quirky

See it if You enjoyed the movie, like Bryce Pinkham or Hannah Ellis, want something not so "Broadway", are interested in mental illness on stage

Don't see it if You want big singing & dancing, like creative & smart writing, like a story that feels fleshed out, want good or memorable music

Also Hannah Ellis is an absolute star, her and Bryce Pinkham are the entire... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Romantic, Relevant, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You loved the movie and are looking to see it come alive on stage.

Don't see it if You’re looking for something that’s fluffy and doesn’t challenge your intellect.

Fluffy, Quirky, Slow, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if you like romantic musical comedies, good singing

Don't see it if you want hummable music

Slow, Disappointing

See it if you can get an inexpensive ticket. The production values and the performances are good.

Don't see it if you are fed up with well-known film titles being made into musicals.

Also This show is the perfect example of why every film should NOT be made ... Read more Read less

Overrated, Slow, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if You have a Papermill subscription you want to use.

Don't see it if You want a well-structured musical with clever lyrics.

Also There are so many problems with this show...... Read more Read less

Great singing, Delightful, Clever

See it if You enjoy fun and quirky musicals, that responsibily address mental illness.

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of musicals that make you think or believe that a musical must have big dance numbers.

Also The singing was beautiful and nuanced. The set was very clever. Bryce ... Read more Read less

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You liked the movie

Don't see it if You are expecting a big Broadway-like performance

Also Good job of adapting the movie to a musical. The performances were gre... Read more Read less

Great acting, Funny, Entertaining

See it if The acting was top notch. There was great chemistry among the leads.

Don't see it if You don’t like pathos in a story made into a musical.

Relevant, Funny, Delightful, Romantic, Entertaining

See it if I found it so much more than I expected. The acting was very good and it had a little bit of everything in it...comedy, romance, heartache.

Don't see it if The entire show was 2 1/2 hrs. I thought it could have been a little shorter.

During previews
Refreshing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you want to see great acting in a low keyed musical. Bryce Pinkham was excellent in his portrayal of his character as a special needs ind.

Don't see it if you don't like musicals

Also The portrayal of the main characters who have developmental disabiliti... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (5)